Redwater is a small settlement in the American Southwest, particularly in the state of Texas. It's a small, corrupt town held in the pocket of a wealthy oil baron, who often abuses his power by making deals with outlaws, turning a blind eye during their raids in exchange.
The Stallion Saloon and Bar
It was a slow day at "The Stallion Saloon and Bar". A few patrons quietly sat around a round table, quietly exchanging words through whispers. A country song gently played on a nearby CD player on the counter. The bartender, an older man with a receding hair line, happily wiped down a glass near the CD player, gently bobbing his head to the tune. A single man sat on a wooden stool at the bar, a glass of whiskey on the rocks gripped in his gloved, right hand. He wore a dirty black duster over his beige dress shirt and red-brown vest, his face largely concealed by the brim of his hat. Only his mouth was visible, bordered by burnt, disfigured skin that contorted his mouth into a constant smile, an eerie grin ear-to-ear. The bartender occasionally gave a nervous glance towards him, as well as the group at their table, but didn't pay much mind to him otherwise.
A young woman with silver hair barges through the doors of the Saloon,sweat falling down her face. She didnt say a word as she approached the bar,slapping crumpled up money on the counter."Water." She asks. She wore tight blue jeans that hugged the bottom half of her body tightly, and a black sports bra that was drenched in sweat. She could feel the men in the bar staring at her as she leaned against the counter.
The bartender, initially a little surprised, went into the back to retrieve a new glass. The man in the hat pulled a cigarette out of his coat pocket, and put it into his mouth. He leaned back a little, stretching his neck before slouching once more. He placed the tip of his thumb and index finger on the end of the cigarette, releasing a small flame from them, lighting up the cigarette. He held it there for a while, before removing it from his mouth and blowing smoke into the air. He off-handedly glanced towards the woman with silver hair, but looked back at his drink afterwards, sloshing the whiskey through the glass.
She smiled when the bartender left and took a seat. When she down she took a deep breath and rubbed the sweat from her forehead. She was breathing heavily as if she had just gotten done running 2 miles.She felt the eyes of almost every man on her to which she sat up straight."So is everyone going to stare at me or are they going to tell me exactly just where the hell I am?" She asks calling almost everyone out.
"You're in Redwater, small town," the man sitting beside her said in a deep, raspy voice. It was almost as if it hurt him to speak. He put the cigarette back into his mouth and lit it with his fingers once more. "I'm waiting for them to leave." He continued, subtly gesturing towards the group who had been staring at her. "It'll be easier outside." He said vaguely. The bartender returned afterwards, and set the glass of water down onto the table.
The woman nodded before chugging the water down faster than what seems to be naturally possible. She sets the cup down and then asks the bartender for another."Easier for what?" She asks him taking a deep breath and looking at the men once more. She turned back around for her second round of water,feeling as if she wasn't as welcome to come in a get a drink as she had originally thought.
He removed the cigarette. "Punishment." He said with a puff of smoke.
The woman's eyes darted towards him without turning her head."Punishment for who?" She asks defensively.She figured she had enough water and put the empty glass on the bar. She figured she would continue her journey to the United Republic right after this. She might have to leave in a huge hurry. She coughed slightly at the smoke before realization came. He wasnt using a lighter. She smirked."So have you heard about the parade at the United Republic? Heard it was in honor of Meta-Humans and such."
"I have," the man said. Now discarding the cigarette butt, he turned slightly. "They're scared." He paused. "They're kissing up to them because they know what they can do. There's some sort of ulterior motive, there's no way they're doing this out of the goodness of their hearts." He downed his whiskey in one swig, before turning towards the thugs sitting at their table, who were now leaving. "And punishment for them." He said, answering her earlier question.
She nodded at what he said. She had the same exact thoughts when she heard about it back at her home time,she knew there was some type of catch. Even then she felt like she was obligated to go,just to see what is going to happen."So are you planning on going?" She asks the man."Never caught your name either.."
The cowboy swallowed. No one had asked him that question in such a long time, and at this point, he didn't know how to respond. Telling someone his name was "The Ghoul" wouldn't exactly work. In the end, he opted for the truth. "Dante. Don't try looking me up." It was impossible to tell whether he said that jokingly or not. "And I'm planning on watching; not attending. If they're planning something, I don't want to be on the receiving end of it." He rose from his seat, and tucked his stool back in. He turned towards the woman, his face still mostly concealed by the brim of his hat. "And what's your name?"
"Yeah, but it would be fun don't you think? New discoveries usually have risks." She says standing up herself. She begins stretching before she realizes that he asked her for her name."Nicole." She says. Looking at him as she stretches her legs."Come on why don't you come with me it'll be fun." She says with a reassuring smile."Come on I'll even carry you there." She says motioning for him to lift his hat up so she can see his face.
Dante was surprised, traveling with someone else? He hadn't left the Southwest for years, and he usually rode solo when he did move from city-to-city. He considered it for a while, before deciding that he would. Maybe it'd be a refreshing change of pace? Besides, he was awfully curious about the event, and in case something did happen, it would be nice to have an ally. "Fine," He paused, not exactly sure what to do at this point, "Do you have any way of getting there, or...?"
Nicole smiled. It was nice to have a companion especially one that didn't totally annoy her. She made her way over to him,carefully placing herself behind him. She placed one hand on his neck and attempted to tilt his head slightly backward. She then placed her right hand on his side."Of course I do,I wouldn't have invited you if I didn't. Now hold still."
Confused, Dante did as she asked, staying almost completely still. "W-What are you doing?" He asked, slightly startled.
"Its to prevent whiplash." She says slightly irritated by his startled tone."I told you I was going to carry you there didn't I?" She says before smirking."Brace yourself." She says pushing forward and activating her super-speed,pushing him forward and out of the establishment in a blur towards the UR.